Life, as a Painting

July 23, 2008
By Anonymous

I thought of writing the story of my life up to this point
And publishing it when I grow older
But I want attention
For examining existence here and now

So that you might understand, I will present my life to you as artwork
You stare at this piece with the shadow-faced others
But while standing an inch away from the canvas
You become cross-eyed and sequences of events are blurry
Too unfocused to find significance

This set-up was planned
To help me prove that life has no significance
Because my dear reader, this author strives to believe in coincidence above all things
Nothing is meant to be
Life’s “lessons” are no more than artificial fruit flavors
(Summon your favorite to your tongue)

But some parts of the artwork are stubborn
They shoot significance at you like pretentious bullets
For instance, you see that winded dotted line?
Among the yellow splotches at the bottom of the canvas?
That was escaping a house at midnight for the sake of a run
The cliché of hot-headed youth I feel I am missing
The berry-red swirl is a secret passed hand to hand
mouth to mouth
Humiliation stunting my growth as a woman
To your left is an orange triangle
The words he spoke
Validation that I was wanted
(Before my parents found me watching television at 3 a.m.)
A hopeful skateboarding accident appears as a neon burst
Mingling with the black, spiraling scratches
Which tell a darker story I may still be living in

And as I see repeated feelings and actions
And point you to splatters and shapes
I grow weary because I see traces of belief in my life
Karma, spiritual growth, glass half-full
They break seams in my cynicism
And try as I might, I find proof of hope

Because it has faced me with conflicts I did not expect
I am not sure how I feel about the exhibit
Themes keep running through my artwork
They pinch at me until I am confused and doubt coincidence
Should I study these lessons and find comfort in life’s wisdom?
Or are my speckled experiences pure chance?
I would appreciate it if you could help me, because my doubt is troubling
And I am a bit too exhausted to figure things out on my own

Soon, I will say goodbye hastily while blushing
I have stripped myself skinless and there are no answers in sight
But before we part
Just to make sure no one will worry:
It would not be a lie for me to say
That if I could
I would flee the museum and curl up on a street corner
Rather than face my confusion and headaches
But standing at the back of the gallery, watching the mess
One thing keeps me from abandoning my art despite the shaky ground:
For pure entertainment
(and some call this the “giving up”)
I am genuinely interested
In what life will hold
For me now

The author's comments:
Above all things I may have accomplished, I hope this piece was a little confusing for the reader. I hope it was a little awkward in places, a little mismatched, or a little jumpy. The piece I imagined is a large canvas detailing my life in abstract form. I was trying to illustrate my problems dealing with "the meaning of life." For the most part, I try to ignore anything that suggests our world is not pure accident (though this is not about an issue with religion)because I do not want to get my hopes up. But certain happenings suggest a tragic series of events, set up like a novel or a short stories. These patterns (which I try to deny) make me think. I hope there is something larger than me sometimes, but I am afraid it is also meaner. Or worse, not even there.

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